Red Wings Fall From Wild Card Spot To Playoff Longshot In A Week

Written By Drew Ellis on March 3, 2023
Detroit Red Wings playoff odds

A week ago, it looked as if the Detroit Red Wings were playoff contenders.

At the time, the Wings were in the eighth and final spot in the East.

However, a lackluster quartet of games combined with some surprising trades now have the Wings looking like another year away.

Where the Red Wings sit in the NHL playoff chase

Detroit wasn’t really in the playoff mix until recently.

Starting on Feb. 9, the Red Wings won seven of eight to jump into the Wild Card hunt.

However, they have since lost four straight. That includes a 5-4 OT loss against Seattle on Thursday night. Thursday’s loss was the only point Detroit recorded in the four games.

The Red Wings are 28-24-9 on the season for a total of 65 points.

Here’s how the Eastern Conference Wild Card looks as of Friday morning:

  • 1. Pittsburgh: 71 points (61 games)
  • 2. N.Y. Islanders: 70 (64 games)
  • Buffalo: 66 (60 games)
  • Ottawa: 66 (61 games)
  • Florida: 66 (63 games)
  • Washington: 66 (63 games)
  • Detroit: 65 (61 games)

The Red Wings are also 14 points behind Tampa (79) for a top-3 spots in the Atlantic, which also would earn a playoff spot.

Busy week for Steve Yzerman

Red Wings’ GM Steve Yzerman has been busy making moves this week.

It started by signing captain Dylan Larkin to an 8-year, $69.6 million contract that will keep the Waterford native as captain for years to come.

The next four moves, all trades, may have been a little more shocking for the fans.

On Wednesday, Yzerman traded defenseman Filip Hronek and a 2023 4th-round draft pick to Vancouver. In return, the Wings got a 1st-round and 2nd-round pick in 2023.

On Thursday, Yzerman then traded left winger Tyler Bertuzzi to Boston for a 2024 1st-round and 2025 4th-round pick.

Friday morning, Yzerman dealt left winger Jakob Vrana to St. Louis. In return, Detroit received a 2025 7th-round pick and Dylan McLaughlin, who was immediately loaned back to the Springfield Thunderbirds of the AHL.

Just prior to Friday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, Yzerman shipped defensemen Oskar Sundqvist to Minnesota for a 2023 4th-round draft pick.

Hronek spent five seasons in Detroit and was third on the team in points this season with 38 (9 goals, 29 assists).

Betuzzi was with Detroit since the 2016-17 season. He had 30 goals and 32 assists last season, finishing second in points for the team. This year he had played in just 29 games due to injury.

Sundqvist joined the Wings last season and had 29 points over 70 games.

Vrana has spent three seasons with Detroit, but been plagued by injuries. He was placed on waivers earlier this season but unclaimed. Vrana appeared in just five games with Detroit this season.

While the Wings were able to pick up some 1st-round picks, Yzerman was clearly indicating Detroit wasn’t ready for a playoff push this season.

Michigan sportsbooks see Red Wings as longshot for NHL playoffs

This week has to be disappointing for Detroit pro sports fans, and anyone who placed a futures bet on the Red Wings.

The Wings had a glimmer of hope of making their first playoff appearance since 2016. Their odds at Michigan sportsbooks reflected that, as their odds to qualify for the postseason were as short at +350 a week ago.

Currently, DraftKings Sportsbook MI is listing the Red Wings at +750 to make the NHL playoffs.

No Detroit team has made a playoff appearance since 2019, and Detroit fans haven’t celebrated a playoff win of any kind in seven years.

The Red Wings were actually the last Detroit team to win a championship. That occurred on June 4, 2008.

Will next season be the year for the Red Wings?

Yzerman has a track record of success. He helped build the Tampa Bay Lightning into perennial Stanley Cup contenders.

He has now spent four seasons as GM of the Red Wings and the results haven’t been great.

  • 2019-20: 17-49-5 for 39 points (last in the NHL)
  • 2020-21: 19-27-10 for 48 points (tied for last in the Central)
  • 2021-22: 32-40-10 for 74 points (12th in the East)
  • 2022-23: 28-24-9 for 65 points (13th in the East currently)

While Red Wings fans have been patient with Yzerman, next season should see Detroit as a playoff team. Five seasons is enough time to build a playoff team.

Though he’s one of the all-time Red Wing greats, Detroit fans only have so much patience. Just ask Joe Dumars.

Photo by Paul Sancya / Associated Press
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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